Archive for October, 2010

U.S. Senators Ask USPTO To Examine ACTA

U.S. Senators Bernard Sanders and Sherrod Brown have written to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to ask the USPTO to examine ACTA to determine whether it is compliant with domestic U.S. legislation or if U.S. law will require amendment.

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October 20, 2010 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Canadian Government Posts French Language Version of ACTA

The Canadian government has posted a French language version of ACTA.  The final treaty will operate in English, French, and Spanish.

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October 20, 2010 Comments are Disabled Must Reads

Angus Tables Motion in Support of Open Source Software

NDP MP Charlie Angus has tabled a motion before the House of Commons focusing on the need for the government to support open source software, particularly through public tendering processes.  The motion (M-587) states: That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) support open source information and […]

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October 19, 2010 16 comments News

Bloc MP Seeking Canadian Hearings on ACTA

Bloc MP Carole Lavallée has sent a notion of motion to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage calling for hearings on Canada’s role at the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations.  The motion states: That pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) the Committee on Canadian Heritage invite the Minister of Canadian Heritage and […]

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October 19, 2010 2 comments News

Digital Advocacy’s “Weak Ties” Should Not Be Underestimated

Malcolm Gladwell, the best-selling Canadian writer for the New Yorker, recently turned his attention to the use of Twitter, Facebook, and the Internet for digital advocacy.  Gladwell dismissed claims that digital advocacy has been an effective tool, lamenting that “people have forgotten what advocacy is about.”  He suggested that effective advocacy that leads to broad social or political change requires “strong ties” among people who are closely connected, committed to the cause, and well organized.  When Gladwell examined digital advocacy initiatives he found precisely the opposite – weak ties between people with minimal commitment and no organizational structure.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version)  notes the Gladwell article was published two days after Canada, the United States, the European Union, and a handful of other countries concluded negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.  Although some issues must still be sorted out, the countries have agreed on a broad framework and announced that no further negotiation rounds are planned.

With the draft agreement now public, it is apparent that one of the biggest stories over the three-year negotiation was the willingness of the U.S. to compromise on the rules associated with the Internet.  When it first proposed the Internet chapter, the U.S. demanded new liability requirements for Internet providers (including the possibility of terminating subscriber access based on multiple allegations of infringement) as well as tough digital lock rules that went far beyond current international treaty requirements.  

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October 18, 2010 18 comments Columns